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You can’t combine ‘new’ and ‘old’ BA Amex 241 vouchers – and why it is an issue

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Yesterday we looked at why the changes to the British Airways Premium Plus American Express cards may be better than we originally thought.

The changes to the British Airways Premium Plus credit card are outlined in this article from Tuesday.

Today, just to be contrarian, I want to show you why the Premium Plus changes may, for the first couple of years, not be better for you and could actually be worse.

British Airways BA American Express Amex credit cards

Tucked away in the small print on the British Airways website, on the ba.com page discussing the changes to the 2-4-1 companion voucher, is this wording:

“Only Companion Vouchers of the same type can be combined and redeemed on one Reward Flight booking (e.g. If a Cardmember holds a British Airways American Express Companion Voucher earned before 1 September 2021 and a British Airways American Express Credit Card Companion Voucher earned after 1 September 2021 they will need to be redeemed on separate bookings. If a Cardmember holds two Companion Vouchers of the same type e.g. two British Airways American Express Credit Card Companion Vouchers earned after 1 September 2021 they can be combined and redeemed as part of the same Reward Flight booking).”

You can’t mix ‘old’ and ‘new’ companion vouchers

These are the rules about who can use your companion voucher:

  • redeem one voucher, and the travellers must be the Amex cardholder and one other person
  • redeem two vouchers at once, in the same transaction, and the passengers must be the Amex cardholder and THREE other people
  • if you are in a Household Account, the additional passengers must be a member of the Household Account or on your Friends & Family list

If you are a family or group of four and want to use 2 x 2-4-1 companion vouchers from the same person on the same trip, you need to book in one transaction to get ‘1+3’.

But you can’t do that now ….

Companion vouchers issued from 1st September cannot be combined with vouchers issued before 1st September.

This will impact whether you decide to trigger your next voucher before or after 1st September.

Let me use myself as the example:

  • I have an existing BA Premium Plus 2-4-1 voucher waiting to be used
  • I am currently £9,000 into my current spending year
  • Virtually all my personal travel is with my wife and two children

As you can see, I have an interesting decision to make.

  • I could trigger my next 2-4-1 voucher before 1st September. The advantage of this is that I can use it with my existing voucher to travel with my family on a booking for four people. The downside is that it won’t qualify to take advantage of the additional Club World seat availability offered on vouchers issued from 1st September.

or

  • I could trigger my next 2-4-1 voucher after 1st September. The advantage of this is that I can use it very easily, due to the additional Club World seats that will be offered on ‘new’ Premium Plus vouchers. The downside is that I can’t combine it with my existing 2-4-1 voucher.

In the second scenario, the only way to use my ‘orphaned’ 2-4-1 voucher would be to book for two of us. I would need to use cash or 100% Avios to book the other two tickets. Availability will be tricker, however, due to lack of access to those additional Club World seats.

I am genuinely confused as to what I should do

I honestly don’t know what option is best.

I am excited by the prospect of being redeem for any I-class Club World seat, which would make Avios availability very easy to find. I would need to wait until 2022 before I had two vouchers available to travel with my family though – and what would happen to my existing voucher?

On the other hand, the idea of ‘wasting’ my existing 2-4-1 – or needing to book the two additional Avios seats I need at full rate – doesn’t appeal.

One solution would be to get my wife a British Airways Premium Plus card again (her two years without the card are nearly up). This would give us extra flexibility, as a 2-4-1 triggered on her card would allow her to book for herself and my daughter and I could book for myself and my son. I would have worse availability on my legacy voucher but I’d only need two seats – my wife would have access to better availability for the extra two seats.

British Airways could easily have avoided this situation

It would have been VERY easy for British Airways to convert existing 2-4-1 vouchers into ‘new’ vouchers on 1st September.

It may have led to a short-term rush on I-class seating but, given the current flight market, I doubt it would be a major hit for the airline.

I would also imagine that literally 99% of BA Premium Plus cardholders won’t read the small print and won’t realise that ‘old’ and ‘new’ vouchers can’t be combined. Most won’t even realise that the vouchers are different. It could all get a bit messy.

Ask me in 8 weeks which way I decided to jump. For now, I am halting BA Premium Plus spending and will decide nearer 1st September whether to push through the last £1,000 to trigger the voucher before or after that date.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – June 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our June 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the other top current deals:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending Read our full review

Earning miles and points from small business cards

If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers.

Amex American Express Business Gold card

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

Earn both Avios and BA On Business points with your business spending Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

Comments (107)

  • Paul says:

    Well my email arrived and disaster. Confirmation that I will no longer be able to hold both free BAPP card as a result of my platinum card (grandfathered right) immensely disappointing. Something has to give but not sure what yet. My anniversary date is August 25th so I should expect the £250 fee in September. This would be in top of £575 fee for platinum in August. Simply not cost effective to have both

    • roberto says:

      Indeed…

      “4. Introduction of an annual Cardmembership fee of £250, which will be the standard Cardmembership fee for the British Airways American Express® Premium Plus Card, and the removal of the clause that allows you to hold the Card for free if you hold an Amex Companion Card. This is to ensure we can continue to offer the existing range of rewards and benefits linked to your Card.”

      I have had it maybe 15/20 years since it was introduced and never paid. All good things come to an end eventually.

    • pauldb says:

      Same email for me. Luckily I anniversaried last month.

      If your year commences in August I would think you have a chance of another free year, even though your fee would post on your September payment. Same as someone who applies on Aug25th so should pay £195, which will post in September.

  • Mark Hicks says:

    Hi there – we are in similar to many post – 1 voucher this year – family of 4 and needed next years for our 2023 get away.. my wife will now need to get a card in her name to trigger the voucher so the 4 of us can travel – so thats £500 in card fees – maybe this is why BA has done it … is there a specific email address we can complain to BA about this – I know it will have no impact but if enough people are then they may have a rethink ? Here’s hoping !

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